Soccer: Sinclair named Canada's top women's player for 14th time

FILE PHOTO: Oct 17, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Canada forward Christine Sinclair (12) controls the ball as United States defender Crystal Dunn (19) defends during the first half of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship final soccer match at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports - 11460395

(Reuters) - Christine Sinclair, who is closing in on women soccer’s international goal scoring record, was named Canada’s women’s player of the year for a 14th time on Tuesday.

Sinclair struck the winner in a 7-0 victory over Panama that secured Canada’s place at next year’s Women’s World Cup, helping push her tally to 177 career goals.

That is just seven behind retired all-time leader Abby Wambach of the United States, who scored 184 goals from 2001 to 2015.

The 35-year-old striker beat out last year’s winner Kadeisha Buchanan, Jessie Fleming, Manchester City striker Janine Beckie and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Ashley Lawrence in a ballot of Canadian media and coaches.

It marked the 26th year Soccer Canada has handed out the honor with Sinclair now having won more than half of them.

“Christine Sinclair showed that you can continue to add layers to your performance, regardless of age, if you work hard,” Kenneth Heiner-Moller, Canada Soccer’s women’s national team head coach, said in a statement.

“Her great physical shape helped her play every minute for Portland Thorns FC and also led Canada to yet another FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

It was the 15th time in 19 years that Sinclair had led Canada in goals with eight in 12 international matches.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Nick Mulvenney